THE AUTOMATIC MOTORIST (1911)
Article 4674 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Walter R. Booth
What it is: Science fantasy trick film
A robot takes a pair of newlyweds for a spin, and the car ends up going to outer space as well as to the bottom of the ocean.
This movie has a lot in common with the one I saw yesterday. For one thing, it too was a title that had been consigned to my “ones that got away” list until BFI put it on their website. It’s also by the same director, Walter R. Booth. It’s something of an expanded remake of the same director’s earlier movie, THE “?” MOTORIST, and repeats that movie’s most memorable sequence in which the car drives on the rings of Saturn; however, it doesn’t stop there, and it breaks into the planet so we get a somewhat Meliesian scene where a policeman who was being dragged behind the car finds himself surrounded by space aliens and ends up romancing a woman from the stars. Some of the special effects look like Gilliam animations. It’s actually a lot of fun, and may be more entertaining than the original version.